In advance of the November Spending review Over 15 Charities and Care Home providers wrote a letter to the Chancellor warning that up to half of UK Care Homes could be forced to close as if nothing is done to amelioriate the potential effects of the latest round of proposed cuts.
In the spending review the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to allow local authorities to include a 2 per cent uplift in council tax to be used ‘exclusively’ to fund the gap in social care funding, and solve the crisis in care. If every local authority does this, it will put £2 billion into the social care budget by 2019/20. But there is no compulsion to do this, and as council budgets are under extreme pressure, with other needs competing for this allocation, it seems unlikely that many councils will commit the entire 2% to funding care home provision.
The letter identifies a £2.9 billion gap in funding so even if the full £2 billion was raised and committed there will still be a substantial gap. When the proposed cut of 25% – 40% in local authority budgets is also taken into account the letter goes on to point out:
“Up to 50% of the care home market will become financially unviable and care homes will start to close their doors,” it adds. “Seventy-four per cent of domiciliary home-care providers who work with local councils have said that they will have to reduce the amount of publicly funded care they provide. If no action is taken, it is estimated that this would affect half of all of the people and their families who rely on these vital services.”